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Motif and CDE 2.1 Style Guide Reference
A choice is an alternative, displayed as a label (text or graphics) on the
screen that a user can choose. Choices are available via controls through
which the user chooses values or invokes actions. Choices can be represented
by push buttons, by menu items, or by check boxes. There are four types of
Action, dialog, and cascading choices are activated. Value choices are
When to Use
RequiredProvide a choice for every action that the user can invoke or for every
value that the user can set or unset.
RequiredUse the predefined label for each predefined choice, except when Yes, No,
Apply, and OK are replaced by more descriptive labels.
RecommendedIf a user changes the text label of a choice, reflect this change in the
RecommendedUse verbs to describe what occurs when the user activates an action or
Identify a choice with a graphic, text, or both, depending on which best
identifies the choice. For example, for a drawing application, use graphic
patterns rather than text to represent the choices.
RecommendedDynamically add text to a choice to make the meaning of that choice
clearer in a given context. For example, changing the name of the Undo choice
to Undo Typing clarifies the meaning and differentiates the choice from Undo
Delete or Undo Apply.
RecommendedDo not change the function or label of a choice because the context
changes and the functions are significantly different or opposite from one
another, except for the labels of the OK or Apply button. Instead, provide
different choices that may sometimes be unavailable as the state changes. This
allows the user to see all of the actions that are available.
For example, do not provide a push button labeled Pause/Resume (or a push
button whose label changes from Pause to Resume) that would have the function
of either pausing or resuming a process, depending on the current state.
Instead, provide one push button labeled Pause and another push button labeled
Resume and display unavailable emphasis on the one that is not available in
the current context.
OptionalYou may change the label and function of a choice as the state changes if
the functions are close variants of one another. For example, on the Edit
menu, switch between Repeat and Redo as the state changes.
RecommendedArrange related choices of the same type next to one another in a group;
for example, arrange related check boxes in rows or columns, and use spacing,
a separator, or a group box to separate the group from other controls.
RequiredPressing the SELECT button on a choice and then releasing the SELECT
button on the same choice activates or toggles it.
RequiredWhen focus is on an element that represents a choice, pressing Select or
Space activates or toggles it.
Essential Related Topics
For more information, see the Action (Choice Type), Cascading (Choice
Type), Control, Dialog (Choice Type), Menu (Control), and Value (Choice Type)
Supplemental Related Topics
For more information, see the Information and Message Areas reference
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